By Mark Brassel
Fancy walking backwards for 190km?
One Kempsey legend promised he’d do exactly that 26 years ago, but the feat was never confirmed nor denied.
Steve Keir was owner and managing director of the huge Akubra Hats Company along with his family when the rain arrived prior to Ramornie Handicap Day at Grafton in 1992.
Steve deduced his horse Rousali had no chance of winning after the course received a drenching.
“Rousali was not a noted wet-track performer and it turned out to be a very soggy track,” recalled Kempsey Race Club’s CEO, John Graham.
“Steve said he would ‘walk backwards to Kempsey from Grafton if it won’. Naturally the horse landed the cash but I’m not sure if Steve reneged on that promise.
“Steve passed away around six years ago and was a very much-loved character in the Kempsey area. His memorial race (worth $25,000) is a fairly significant part of Kempsey Akubra Cup Day next Friday.
“Steve was also President of Kempsey Race Club for more than 20 years and Akubra Hats has been sponsoring the Cup since the early 1980s.”
Akubra Cup Day is the biggest event on the Macleay social calendar with an excellent day of racing and entertainment planned on Friday.
There’ll be two express buses leaving South West Rocks Country Club bound for Kempsey’s Warwick Park Racecourse with tickets $25 that include return bus trip, racecourse entry and a race program.
And the Fashions on the Field will boast some great prizes including return airfares to Brisbane for two people donated by Alliance Airlines, along with two nights’ accommodation for two people donated by Sue Gorman from Kempsey Travel and Cruise.
Kempsey's Race Committee and Harley and Rose Boutique are just a few that have donated vouchers, with each first-placed lady winner to receive a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Ellerslie Flowers.
“The track is in perfect condition and the gardens are looking beautiful,” Graham added.
Kempsey rounds off a sensational week of racing in NSW, with racegoers spoilt for choice during Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup Day with no fewer than 13 race meetings to choose from around the state.
Aside from Royal Randwick, get trackside to one of the following meetings: Albury, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Gosford, Kembla Grange, Moruya, Muswellbrook, Nowra, Tamworth, Taree and Wentworth.
Albury has a Melbourne Cup Luncheon hosted by MMM’s Lu and Matt, with $55 tickets including a buffet lunch under the elm trees and a champagne cocktail on arrival.
Coffs Harbour’s function includes a gourmet buffet lunch, reserved table seating, gate entry, racebook and six drink tickets.
The event will feature a stylish layout with Fashions on the Field by Park Beach Plaza.
And Dubbo’s Daily Liberal Melbourne Cup Day involves an afternoon full of fashion and racing, with the grand final of the 2018 Whitney’s Jewellers and Landmark Harcourts Fashion on the Field series.
The winner will score a Handcrafted Whitney’s Jewellers Diamond ring.